In our always-connected, increasingly globalized world, the way people work and the way we hire employees are rapidly shifting. In my 15+ years working with background-screening company Sterling Talent Solutions, I’ve had the opportunity to keep my finger on the pulse of the hiring landscape. As a result, I have noted tremendous evolution in this field over the years. I expect 2018 to be no different, and I anticipate the following trends to emerge as significant issues facing employers and HR professionals in the coming year:
1. The Contingent Workforce Will Grow in Prominence Among Millennials
Research from Intuit and Emergent found that the gig economy is estimated to account for 34 percent of the workforce, and it is expected to grow to 43 percent of the workforce by 2020. In 2018, we can expect this trend to continue, and we can expect millennials in particular to flock to the gig economy in large numbers.
Millennials are characterized by their search for meaningful work and work/life balance. Gig jobs fit the bill, as they are flexible and give millennials the chance to engage in impactful work. We anticipate this manner of work could become a way of life for many millennials this year.
For employers, the rise of the gig economy creates an increased need for compliance, as safety and security are emphasized by both service providers and consumers of services. In 2018, we can expect background screening to become a priority, integrating innovative technology with comprehensive compliance standards to help ensure the safety of all gig economy participants. As consumers move to mobile-based platforms, mobile screening capabilities will become a necessity, and the convenience of this method will attract millennial candidates in particular. In order to access the best candidates, organizations will need to ensure their screening processes are as easy as ordering dinner through a mobile device.
2. Organizations Will Face Decisions About Medical Marijuana in the Workplace
On the first of this year, California legalized recreational marijuana throughout the state. As medical marijuana becomes legalized in other states, decisions about whether to allow medical marijuana in the workplace will need to be made. In 2018, many employers with zero-tolerance drug policies will be forced to reevaluate. We can expect to see new legislation coming down the pipeline this year in many states, which will create more flexible laws governing the use of marijuana.
There are many nuances to consider when balancing workplace policies and drug testing against the legalization of marijuana. First and foremost, organizations should have their drug testing policies reviewed and updated in 2018. These policies must be clear in their descriptions of prohibited behaviors, the use of drug testing (how, when, and for what), consequences for policy violations, and the definition of “under the influence.” Furthermore, companies be ready to take measures based on employee actions rather than drug test results.
A company’s drug testing policies exist in order to protect the organization. Companies that promote drug-free environments will need to review their policies with legal counsel, consistently apply drug testing policies across all candidates and employees, and consider the health and safety of all workers in the application of the predetermined drug screening policy.
3. Salary History Inquiry Bans and ‘Ban the Box’ Laws Will Set in Nationally
Thus far, New York, California, Indiana, Pennsylvania, and Vermont have implemented “ban the box” laws. Delaware, Oregon, and New York City implemented salary history inquiry bans in 2017. In 2018, we can expect the trend to continue. In fact, California already implemented both laws on New Year’s Day, and we will likely see new and broader regulations set in nationally.
Hiring the right talent has increasingly become a global assignment for organizations, which adds a layer of complexity to hiring and background screening procedures. Regulations may change in the U.S. this year, but the new laws will not be consistent across jurisdictions in the 190+ countries globally. Global companies that hire around the world need to ask themselves whether they are complying not only with the regulations in the locations of their headquarters, but also around the world. When it comes to candidate screening, at times, it might even be easier to screen according to global standards throughout the organization, as opposed to individually screening based on city/state/country laws. Having a centralized screening platform can help simplify the hiring experience and create efficiencies for both employers and candidates throughout the hiring process.
Richard Seldon is president and chief revenue officer of Sterling Talent Solutions. He can be reached at Richard.Seldon@sterlingts.com.